Thursday, March 2, 2017

PROGRESS Chapter 8: The Big Boys Guide To Strong Style Review

Rampage Brown challenges El Ligero for the PROGRESS Wrestling Title!

PROGRESS Chapter 8: The Big Boys Guide To Strong Style
Islington, London, England 7/28/13

1.) Mark Haskins vs. Stixx: ***

Stixx is such an odd name for a wrestler. It sounds like something out of the late 1990’s during the Attitude Era. Anyway, I thought this was a solid opening match. It was by no means spectacular, but for its spot on the card, it was perfectly fine. Stixx would get the win in the end, as he had his sights set on the rest of Team Screw Indy Wrestling.

2.) Natural Progression Series - Semi-Finals - Mark Andrews vs. Jonathan Windsor: ***

Andrews successfully defended his spot in the Natural Progression Series against Will Ospreay back at Chapter 7. This was the first Semi-Final bout in the tournament, as Andrews took on “Lord” Jonathan Windsor, who appears to have a typical British Blue Blood gimmick. I thought this was very similar to the opener. It didn’t really stand out, but it was still a solid match from start to finish. It’s weird looking back at these shows over three years after the fact, and see guys like Windsor who (to my knowledge) haven’t done much of anything in PROGRESS since these shows took place. Eventually, Andrews would pick up to victory to advance to the Finals of the Natural Progression Series.

So the storyline for the next two matches was pretty interesting. As I mentioned in my review of Chapter 7, The London Riots have been having issues with PROGRESS management, and they even put their hands on Jim Smallman. The London Riots only had one match left on their PROGRESS Wrestling contracts, and Smallman said that management would cook up a surprise for them. That surprise was that, instead of putting them in a tag team match, they split up The London Riots into two singles match, with stipulations and opponents designed to give them a beating on the way out. The ramifications of this announcement were actually pretty important to the longterm story of PROGRESS, particularly Jimmy Havoc, who wasn’t pleased to find out that Smallman was putting him in a hardcore match. Havoc agreed to do the match, but only if Smallman signed a contract that would give Havoc a future match against anyone of his choosing. Smallman gladly signed the contract, but this would later come back to haunt him….

3.) Last Man Standing Match - Danny Garnell vs. Rob Lynch: ***1/4

This is a unique take on the Last Man Standing Match, in that weapons aren’t allowed at all here. The idea was that Smallman wanted Garnell to just repeatedly drop Lynch on his head over and over again. It was an intriguing idea, and the match itself was fine, albeit unspectacular. The action was good, but I think what ended up hurting it was that it just got repetitive after a few minutes. Again, I like this different take on the Last Man Standing Match on paper, but it didn’t exactly work out 100% in practice. Towards the end of the match, James Davis tried to assist Rob Lynch, but Jimmy Havoc was able to chase him off. In the end, Danny Garnell managed to keep Lynch down for the count, and won the match. Garnell carried Lynch off, and the Hardcore Match started immediately....

4.) Hardcore Match - James Davis vs. Jimmy Havoc: ***1/2

This match certainly isn't for the faint of heart, and if you're not into these kind of matches, you'll probably not like it. For me, I thought it was pretty good for what it was, and as someone who's never really seen a Jimmy Havoc death match before, it was certainly an interesting match to watch. Weapons used in this one included Chairs, Kendo Sticks, Cooking Sheets, Tables, Wooden Boards, Thumbtacks, Light Tubes, and even a lemon (which James Davis used to squeeze lemon juice on the wounds).The basic story here was that Jimmy Havoc dominated most of the match, but he became overconfident (since he was in his element) and didn't end the match when he should have, which led to James Davis getting the win. Again, if death matches aren't your thing, you probably won't even consider watching this. Still, it's perfectly fine for what it was, and it plays an important part in early PROGRESS storylines.

5.) Triple Threat Match - Darrell Allen vs. Eddie Dennis vs. Doug Williams: ***1/2

Noam Dar was originally going to be in this match, but had to pull out due to an injury. For Doug Williams, this was his debut in PROGRESS. As for Darrell Allen & Eddie Dennis, they just can’t seem to be separated from each other. They were in a tag team match on Chapter 6, a Four-Way Elimination Match on Chapter 7, and now a Triple Threat Match here on Chapter 8. As for the match itself, I actually enjoyed it a lot. It was an entertaining match to watch from start to finish, with a number of unique spots. All three guys had opportunities to shine, and fans seemed to be into it. In the end, Doug Williams managed to score the victory here.

6.) Project Ego (Kris Travis & Martin Kirby) vs. The Hunter Brothers: ***1/2

Kris Travis took the mic before the match. He said that they watch the PROGRESS DVD’s with “Mama Ego”, and she doesn’t like all of the swearing. Travis asked the fans to say “fudge” & “poop” instead of “fuck” & “shit”. Fortunately for “Mama Ego”, the fans in attendance went along with this, and followed Travis’ instructions. This was a really enjoyable tag team match. There was plenty of good action throughout, but they also managed to throw in some comedy here and there. At one point, Kirby actually got out a harmonica and actually started playing it during the match. Project Ego are such an entertaining tag team. They’re always an enjoyable part of these early PROGRESS shows, and they managed to get the win here over The Hunter Brothers.

7.) PROGRESS Title - El Ligero vs. Rampage Brown (with Mark Haskins): ***1/2

Rampage Brown received this title shot as a result of scoring the winning pinfall in a Six-Man Tag Team Match on Chapter 7. In that match, he revealed himself to be the 3rd member of Team Screw Indy Wrestling, becoming a heel in the process. El Ligero is the promotion’s 2nd champion, and this is his 4th title defense. I thought this was a pretty good match. With Rampage Brown being the bigger of the two, we saw the big guy vs. little guy style of match play out, and I think it worked out well. I’ve really come to enjoy El Ligero’s work (what I’ve seen of him, anyway), and Rampage Brown played not only a good big man, but a good heel as well. There was a lot brawling on the outside at the start, and at one point, Rampage Brown powerbombed El Ligero from the stage to the floor onto security. In the second half of the match, we saw a lot of back & forth with some very good false finishes. The only think that kept me from going a little higher on this match was the outside interference by Mark Haskins (also in the Team Screw Indy Wrestling stable), but that’s a minor complaint. Rampage Brown would eventually put away El Ligero to win the PROGRESS Wrestling Title, becoming the promotion’s 3rd champion.

Overall: 7.25/10

This was a rather interesting show from PROGRESS Wrestling. There wasn't a single match on the card that went about ***1/2, but at the same time, nothing fell below ***. Every match was good to really good, but nothing seemed to really get out of that range. I guess you can say that the second half of the card was pretty strong, as you had a string of ***1/2 matches. This was far from the best PROGRESS show you'll find, but there is some good stuff on it.

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